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Money and shopping matters

Myanmar currency and exchange rates

Myanmar currency is “Kyat” which comprises 100 pyas. The denominations are Kyat-1000, 500, 200, 100, 90, 50, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5, and 1. Foreigners are recommended to bring US Dollars into Myanmar because they are easily exchangeable into Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC) or Myanmar kyat at the Yangon International Airport or money changers. Euros may also be exchanged into FEC or Myanmar kyat at money changers. Foreign Exchange Certificate, issued for the convenience of visitors, is accepted by hotels, airlines, travel agencies, taxis, and restaurants and convenient for entrance fees to pagodas, museums, parks, etc. FECs are issued in US $1, $5, $10 and $20 denominations and it can be exchanged at Yangon International Airport

Please be warned that torn, dirty and stained notes might not be accepted. Visa card is accepted by most hotel and a few restaurants and shops, and the service charges may vary from 20 to 40 percent. Only a few restaurants and hotels accept credit cards, and the service charges may vary from 20 to 40 percent.  

Exchange rate

Myanmar currency can be exchanged at the official rates quoted by authorized Foreign Exchange Counters at the international gateways or at the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank
Exchange rate 1 USD = 800 kyat (please ask to your guide to change money). Exchange rate subject to change. 

Business Hours

Government offices from 09:30 to 16:30 hrs - Weekdays Monday to Friday
Banks from 10:30 to 14:00 hrs - Weekdays Monday to Friday
Shops from 10:00 to 21:00 hrs – Monday through Saturday and some open on Sunday too

List of Local and International Banks

If you have any bank transactions to make before leaving, here are some of the local and international bank listings. 
Local Banks
First Private Bank Ltd
619-621, cor of Bo Soon Pat St & Merchant St, Pabedan Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95-1 251747, 252412 Fax: +95-1 250148, 247320

KBZ Bank Ltd.
Blg B, Rm-01, 06, 07 Lanmadaw St, Lanmadaw Plaza, Lanmadaw Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95-1 212763

Myanmar Oriental Bank (M.O.B)
166-168, Pansodan St, Kyauktada Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95-1 246594-96 Fax: +95-1 251845
Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank
80-86, Maha Bandoola Garden St, Kyauktada Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95 284911 Fax: +95 289585

Yoma Bank Ltd
380, Rm-3, FMI Center, Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Pabedan Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95 240400, 240365

International Banks
Standard Chatered Bank FMI Centre
380, Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Pabedan Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95 240260, 240400 Fax: +95 240261

Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corporation
(Yangon Representative Office)
Rm-717-718, Traders Hotel, No. 233, Sule Pagoda Rd, Pabedan Tsp, Yangon
Tel: +95 242929 ext 7718 Fax: +95 381227

ATMs

Myanmar has no ATMs and there are no banks in the entire country to withdrawal any cash. What this means for the foreign travelers is that one must bring 100% of the entire cost of the trip in cash. The preferred unit of currency to carry into Myanmar is the US dollar, closely followed by the Euro. Big denomination US notes ($50-100) are preferred as the rate of exchange is higher for larger notes, and all currency must be in mint condition (the smallest pen marks or tears or folds in bills are not accepted). There are exchange desks at the Yangon, Mandalay, Nuang U and Heho airports higher than what one would get at the hotels or on the streets.  

Shopping in Myanmar

Shopping in Myanmar is still really bargain opportunity. There are many natural resources such as gems and handmade souvenirs all over Myanmar. As example, Myanmar Ruby, jade, sapphire and peal are the best in the world. So, you can get the best gems and jewelry in a good and reasonable price. And also, very famous Myanmar Lacquer ware, carved wood, tapestries, textiles, silverware, paintings, paper umbrella, Shan shoulder bag and etc. are must-buy items in Myanmar. 

Where to shop

City Mart Supermarkets: The largest supermarket chain in Yangon and in Myanmar is the City Mart Supermarkets. It has more than ten centers in Yangon, including the larger Ocean Supermarkets. Apart from Yangon, there is only one City Mart Supermarket in Mandalay, and another newly opened one in Pyinmanar (Naypyidaw, the new capital of Myanmar).

You would be able to find a fairly good collection of imported and local products - food, drinks, dairy products, toiletries, cosmetics, liquor and wine in these supermarkets. Indeed, the range of items available at City Mart Supermarket is much more than at any other supermarket in Myanmar. The staffs at City Mart are also friendly and helpful. Open together with almost all City Mart Supermarkets is the Season’s Bakery which sells tasty bread and bakery at an affordable price. In addition, City Mart has the largest collection of wine and liquor in Myanmar.

Super One: Apart from City Mart Supermarkets, there are very few supermarkets in Yangon. Super One is a hybrid of Supermarket and Department Store. It has more variety of local products than at City Mart, but the choice of imported products is very much limited. Brand and quality of imported products are also not as good as in City Mart. However, if you are looking for a quality Myanmar product, this is a good place for you.

Asia Light used to be quite famous among Yangon residents in the past. However, its popularity has declined steadily in recent years. I used to shop here 10 years ago, but haven’t set foot in this supermarket for quite a long time.

There are a number of smaller store chains in Yangon but most of them are limited in the range of products they sell. Most of these also sell mainly cheap Chinese products. One such convenient store was Sein Gay Har Stores.

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